Cedar Falls family now pushing for lawnmower safety after horrible accident

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Cedar Falls, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Mowing your lawn, it's something most of us do without a second thought especially as it gets warmer outside, but that typical chore changed the lives of a Cedar Falls family.

Last summer, a lawnmower seriously hurt their 3-year-old, but doctors at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital saved his life.

"Everything is going through your head like I just got to tell him how much I love him over and over again and like you just can't prepare for anything like that ever for a child, Ryan Manahl said.

Ryan says last year's lawnmower accident still haunts him.

He was mowing his neighbor's lawn and didn't notice his youngest son running towards him.

As Ryan was backing up he knew he hit something and when he finally realized what happened it was too late.

His son's body was under the giant machine.

"I got the mower off him, I screamed and then after that I seen all his injuries and knew that this was a terrible thing, my neighbor that I was mowing, he came running out and i told him to call 911," says Manahl.

3-year-old Tate was rushed to a nearby Waterloo hospital.

"That whole ride was just awful, he kept fading in and out and I was just yelling at him, Tate Tate, and he'd come back and I didn't know if we were going to make it there," recalls Manahl.

Tate was then airlifted to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital where the trauma team quickly went to work.

Dr. Joel Shilyansky the surgeon-in-chief at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital was leading the trauma team that day when Tate came in.

Dr. Shilyansky says time is everything when you have injuries this crucial.

"15, 20 or 30 minutes for this boy to make it to the hospital and to the operating room and he may have not made it or he may have made it or would have had some very bad disability, much worst than what he has now," says Dr. Shilyansky.

Tate's stomach and legs were badly injured, but doctors were able to save his life.

And Tate's Road to recovery still isn't over yet.

He is four-years-old now and he's had almost 30 surgeries and doctors tell us he will most likely need more in the future.

Now Ryan's message to other parents about lawnmower safety personal.

He hopes his story will educate others on just how dangerous these lawnmowers can be for children.

"They're powerful and this is what they can do and people actually do unfortunately lose their lives from these accidents and we were fortunate enough that that didn't happen and now we can out here to try and save lives for other families," says Ryan.

In 2016 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 4,500 children were taken to the ER because of lawnmower-related injuries.